'It can be done:' Greg Walter of Charlotte Motor Speedway says NASCAR is uniquely qualified to return to live events

CHARLOTTE (WTVD) -- Greg Walter, the Executive Vice President and GM of Charlotte Motor Speedway, says there's a reason live racing is leading the return to live sports.

"NASCAR is uniquely equipped to be able to pull that off with our competitors having helmets and gloves. We're in a wide open space," he said.

Walter and his Charlotte Motor Speedway team have what he calls a "thick playbook" for every facet of the race day operation. They've been coordinating with state and local officials for a month. There is opportunity being at the vanguard of live sports' return but that's not all.

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Full Greg Walter interview
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"There's an enormous responsibility to get it right," he said. "You know...you're dealing with athletes, everybody the type A wants to do it their own way. This one everyone understands the burden we're putting on, and how we're going to handle it, how the whole country is going to be looking at us and how we do this."

Screening questionnaires and temperature checks are part of the safety procedures that will be in place. Actual race team personnel on site will be trimmed by 70 to 80 percent and pits will be spaced out.

"Only 10 people per team will be here" said Walter. "That's including the driver and the owner, as well. So you're talking about a crew chief, a car chief, a couple of people to work on the car, the pit crew, and then probably the team owner. So it's very limited."

NASCAR officially returns on May 17, race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24
So much of NASCAR's fan culture of course takes place in the parking lots, but that is out of the question for now, said Walter.

"There's a lot at stake. You know, not only the health and welfare of the competitors, but the health and welfare of our community. We're actually going to cordoning off the entire property," he said.

So much of the Coca Cola 600's Memorial Day culture is the pre-race pomp and ceremony. They're working hard to salvage elements of that.

"For instance, the bugler that would normally play Taps, how do we do that in a virtual sense? How do we get the command, who will be giving the command? So there's a lot of those elements that we're going to be able to get on the TV broadcast that I think will be compelling," Walter said.

Absent fans, it's fair to ask what's to gain running these races. Walter says the answer is simple.

"We need to get back to racing and there's certainly a benefit to putting live races on not only for us but also for for all of sports. That we're the first live sport back proves that yes it can be done," he said.
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